With Japan being the host country for the 2020-1 Tokyo Olympics, a spot in each sport is guaranteed to the hosting country. That doesn’t mean that these chosen athletes worked any less than their counterparts, and as we’ve seen in the last 3-4 years, there’s a strong chance that Japan will have their first BMX Olympic superstar(s). In racing, Team Japan will be sending Sae Hatakeyama – 畠山 紗英 and Yoshi Nagasako – 長迫 吉拓 and in freestyle, Minato Oike – 大池 水杜 and Rim Nakamura – 中村 輪夢. The list of athletes is almost complete! For both Minato and Sae, this will be their first Olympic debut.
Minato Oike is a 4-time Japanese National Champion in BMX Freestyle, a Gold Medalist at the 2018 UCI World Championships, and 2nd place holder at Sister Session. Minato consistently podiums on the international stage and has a very strong chance of bringing home an Olympic medal.
Earlier this year, Red Bull athlete Sae Hatakeyama achieved the title of being the first Japanese rider to ever finish on the podium at a World Cup. Sae at the age of 12, took the Girls 10 category title at the UCI BMX World Championships in both 2011 and 2012. Sae is also a multi-time Japanese National Champion in BMX Racing.